Matt Leinart would like you to know that his NFL career has been a roller coaster. Arizona Cardinals fans would like Leinart to know watching him left them feeling like they had just gotten off one.
The Daily Trojan, USC’s student newspaper, caught up with the former Heisman quarterback and Cards draft bust this week and he opened up about his time in Arizona and where he sees his career heading.
“You can either give in to all of the criticism, or you can use it as fuel and motivation,” Leinart said. “I know what I can do. I am just waiting for the opportunity to go show it.”
Waiting for an opportunity to show it? Exactly how far under the surface is it hidden? Apparently the 17 starts Leinart got in his four seasons with the Cardinals wasn’t enough for it to emerge.
During his time in Arizona he never showed an ability to lead and his lack of arm strength was apparent. He also never showed a propensity for throwing more touchdowns than interceptions either. (He finished his ‘illustrious’ Cardinals career with 14 touchdowns and 20 interceptions.)
Leinart won’t let that get him down though.
“I am not going to give up,” Leinart said. “I am not going to say it has been unfair, but I am just hoping for the opportunity to come.”
Whoever takes that next chance on the former Trojan will do so at their own risk. Leinart hasn’t thrown a pass in an NFL game since January of 2010 and hasn’t thrown a touchdown since December of 2008. After being cut by the Cards at the end of training camp, he spent the entire 2010 season as the third string quarterback with the Houston Texans.
While very few around the NFL and even fewer in Arizona believe that Leinart will become a quality starter in the league, he still seems to have plenty of confidence in himself. You just have to wonder where that went when he was on the field for the Cardinals?